X's and O's: New Mission's Isshiah Coleman

The MIAA has few players that play above the rim like New Mission’s Isshiah Coleman. Jumping ability is one of those gifts that cannot be taught, which is why Coleman is such a fun player to watch. He is like the MIAA version of Ben Wallace. The 6-foot-4 junior forward can rebound, block shots, and throw down monster dunks.

Here is a breakdown of his game against Boston English last week:

(video courtesy of New Mission head coach Cory McCarthy)

Energy Plays

Coleman’s biggest strength is rebounding and blocking shots. His jumping ability allows him to grab rebounds that are not even in his area. For opposing big men, he is tough to box out because of his ferocity on the boards.

As you can see from these clips, all that Coleman needs to do is jump up and the rebound is his. The same goes for his shot-blocking ability. Most players that go into the paint against Coleman should take caution.

This is the type of player that every team needs. He is an undersized big man who brings energy. Coleman has the raw tools to be a difference maker in arguably the two most important aspects of the game -- defense and rebounding.


Rather than emphasizing what Coleman isn’t (a skilled player), I would like to point out his strengths on the offensive end. He is not going to blow by anyone, or knock down three-pointers. He is strictly a threat near the basket. This is an underrated part of his game, too. In most games that I have seen Coleman has not been too assertive on offense, but he has shown glimpses of promise.

What is most impressive about all of these clips is Coleman’s comfort in the post. Obviously nobody on Boston English is taller or bigger than him, but Coleman did not look robotic at all. He never hesitated. He just made his move and in all of these cases, his decisions ended up working out. The fourth and sixth clips are perfect examples of the confidence.

At this point Coleman has a tendency to only use his left hand, which is something that defenses at the next level will catch onto. He also needs to develop more of a repertoire in his post game because dunking on opponents will not be as easy either.

Timing and Defense

While Coleman might seem like a perfect energy forward, that is far from the case. In fact, calling him an energy player might be too complimentary. A lot of the times on defense, Coleman plays with his legs straight up and lackadaisically. He also suffers from bad decision-making and timing.

In the first and fourth clips, Coleman just makes bad fouls because he jumped when he should not have. In the sixth clip, Coleman simply jumped and let his man score. In the second, third, and fifth clips, Coleman lets his man go by him. He had the right idea of taking the charge, but that is a part of his game he needs to work on.

When Coleman is locked in, he can make a difference. But sometimes, this is not the case.

Ball Control

With great jumping ability comes great responsibility. Coleman tends to get a little wild with the ball in his hands. These three clips show Coleman turning the ball over.

Big men have to be extra careful with the ball in their hands. Since they do not get the ball as much as guards, they have to prove they won’t turn it over. In the first two clips, Coleman turns it over by trying to do too much. In the last clip, Coleman does the same thing but in the form of a missed dunk. Had this game been a tight game and Coleman missed the dunk, New Mission would have been in deep trouble. The best option when near the rim is to lay it in to ensure an easy basket.


Isshiah Coleman has the talent and raw tools to be a star in the MIAA. On many nights, he has (and will) put up big numbers. However, if he wants to push New Mission to the next level, he will need to play harder and smarter.